En 2002, la Fondation IGF a mis sur pied un projet de valorisation de la filière de production de viande de brousse dans la forêt dense humide du sud de la République Centrafricaine, dans le but de concilier la conservation de la faune sauvage et les intérêts socio-économiques des populations locales.
Quel enjeu ?
Le sud-est de la République Centrafricaine est une vaste zone faiblement peuplée, couverte d’une forêt dense humide riche en faune sauvage. Traditionnellement utilisée par les populations locales pour répondre à leurs besoins alimentaires, cette faune sauvage fait aussi depuis quelques années l’objet d’une exploitation commerciale croissante, encore accrue par l’ouverture de voies de communication permettant l’acheminement massif de viande de brousse vers des marchés urbains rendus accessibles. Or, cette nouvelle forme d’exploitation met en péril à la fois la pérennité des ressources fauniques de la région et la sécurité alimentaire des populations locales.
Quel role pour la fondation IGF ?
Face à cette situation, en 2002, IGF a été mandatée par le Fonds Français pour l’Environnement Mondial (FFEM) pour identifier un projet de gestion de la filière de viande de brousse dans la région. Avec la participation d’experts locaux, une étude de faisabilité a donc été effectuée et a permis le financement et la mise en route du projet GTCV (Gestion des Terroirs de Chasse Villageoise) de Ngotto. Les activités visent à mettre en place de façon concertée des plans de gestion de la chasse tenant compte des besoins socio-économiques des populations locales.
Des micro-projets de développement local – comme des petits élevages villageois – ont aussi été identifiés comme composantes essentielles du succès du projet.
Suite aux propositions élaborées par IGF, le projet a obtenu le soutien des bailleurs de fonds. Il vient de démarrer.
he Foundation participated in the drafting process of what has now become an international treaty: the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) signed in Rio in 1992 by 168 countries. In principle, this treaty should enable humanity to conserve in the long term all forms of life on earth. In practice, the realization of this goal is not easy and every day that goes by a growing population of humanity, in its struggle for survival and battle for development, discards or destroys in complete indifference some of its living heritage. Unfortunately, extinction is forever. The obstacles to conserving biodiversity in its entirety lie at various levels: Shortsightedness: much of humanity's actions are driven by short term motivations; survival, politics, profit, all need quick solutions. Long-term research and planning usually lack funding, Misunderstanding: ecologists and economists speak different languages; as a result, when scientists claim that biodiversity is "invaluable", economists evaluate it at zero in national or international accounting. This error can lead to where an apparent growth in the GDP could in fact hide a loss of biodiversity. Ignorance : most species, particularly microorganisms, have not been inventoried, and the role they play in ecosystems is unknown to science, Even though the Foundation's main interest lies with large terrestrial mammals, it would have been senseless to try to conserve them, or reintroduce and rehabilitate them without ensuring that suitable habitats were available. How to motivate local people and decision-makers to conserve and enhance the value of natural habitats has therefore been a preoccupation of the Foundation since it was created. Twenty years ago, the Foundation started with demonstrating to Mongolia's government the economic value of wildlife through sport-hunting; recently, the same approach was followed by IGF to communicate that the revenue from mopane forest in Southern Africa could be doubled by developing the harvest of wild mopane silkworms. Only when the values of all products derived from wild fauna and flora - be it as meat, leather, medicinal or cosmetic ingredients - are added up can we prove that wild habitats can outcompete their transformation to impoverished "domesticated" ecosystems. Only if we take the time and have the will to enhance "wild" values per hectare, sustainably used, can we hope to conserve them in the long term.
The African Elephant (Loxodonta africana) is without doubt the most spectacular species of that continent. It is the largest living terrestrial mammal. The species was originally present from the Cape of Good Hope to North Africa. The African elephant was practically eradicated in Southern Africa by the beginning of the century, but its populations have been steadily expanding in the last decades and, well conserved, are actually now overabundant in some countries such as Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe. The Foundation, informed of the widespread poaching of elephants, leading to an expanding illegal international ivory trade, initiated in 1985, in collaboration with FAO and CITES, an ivory trade control system attributing legal ivory export quotas only to those African countries utilizing under control their own elephant populations. This system, accompanied by suitable ivory marking procedures, was put into place by CITES in 1986 and succeeded, within two years, in eliminating nearly all illegal international trade in ivory. Unfortunately, public disinformation campaigns in Europe and North America had been launched to declare the African elephant endangered, leading to a ban on ivory trade in 1989. This ban led to considerably reduced resources for anti-poaching activities. Elephant numbers continued to rise in Southern Africa, to decline in Eastern African and remained stable in Central Africa where poaching has kept elephants at a depressed level. In 1997, faced with those realities, CITES Parties voted to allow again international trade in ivory from those countries which had demonstrated their ability to conserve their elephants. Elephant and Protected Areas In Chobe National.Park (Botswana), overabundant elephants have in recent years completely destroyed the beautiful old riparian forest of the Park. In Amboseli National Park (Kenya), there are now more than 800 elephants, twice as many as the Park can support sustainably. Within the last twenty years, the woodland cover has disappeared to less than 10% of what it was, giraffe numbers plunged from 200 to less than 30, lesser kudu (Tragelaphus imberbis) and bushbuck (Tragelaphus scriptus) have become extinct after losing their habitat. Adult elephants eat more than 200 kg/day of vegetation. During a severe drought in the 70's, 7,000 elephants of Tsavo East National Park (Kenya) died of hunger after consuming all the trees and bushes. In Krüger National Park, (South Africa), which covers 2 million hectares and holds 8,000 elephants, 400 of them, i.e. 5% of the park's population, which corresponds to its annual increase, have had to be removed every year to prevent those megaherbivores from altering the park's landscapes since it is entirely fenced. Elephant and People Conflict Contrary to the image which the city-dwellers have of elephants i.e. large gentle giants, lovers of children, rural Africans regard them with fear, suspicion and hostility. Elephants, often coming out of protected areas, trample and eat their crops, destroy their granaries, fruit trees, dams and soil contours; worse, they kill hundreds of people in Africa each year. Those real costs borne by the Africans must be more than balanced by benefits if elephants are to be conserved. Otherwise, people will eliminate them in the long term. Sustainable Use of Elephants There are today several hundred thousand elephants in Africa. This number of animals can, on a sustainable basis, generate US $ 30 million /year from the sale of their ivory and 60,000 tons/year of meat; leather goods made from elephant skin are as profitable as the ivory; thousands of jobs derive from consumptive and non-consumptive use of elephants. The maximum sustainable yield (MSY) for elephant is around 5% of the population. Consumptive use of this portion has no impact on eco-tourism. On the other hand, it is a resource which can be used by the sale of animals, cropping and sport-hunting. Elephants' Value in U.S.Dollars / Hectare It must be noted that the safari hunting industry provides earnings in excess of U.S.$ 50 million per year in Southern Africa's communal lands. This corresponds in many cases to more than US $ 10/hectare. This figure, obtained from areas that are largely unsuitable for dry land farming, outcompetes commercial beef ranching. Where elephant hunting is carried out, trophy quotas are usually set at around 0.7% of Maximum Sustainable Yield and contributes up to nearly 35% of the income from the land.
In the early seventies, the Central African Republic (CAR) was estimated to have had an elephant population of approximately 80,000 animals. Heavily armed gangs of poachers, originally killing only for ivory, but now also for meat, reduced the CAR elephant population to an estimated 10,000, level at which it stands today. To help the management authorities of Manovo-Gounda-St.Floris National Park curb poaching within the Park, the Foundation furnished equipment, motorcycles, arms and training. An anti-poaching unit was formed and armed patrols organized with the support of the Central African Armed Forces The Foundation's future strategy is to involve local communities in the management of their wildlife, encourage the Central African Government to continue its involvement in anti-poaching, and to informbilateral and multilateral donor agencies of the need for outside help.
It was in 1908 that a new sub-species of sable antelope, the giant sable (Hippotragus niger variani), was described for the first time. It is the most magnificent and most famous of Angola's rich wildlife heritage, and is in fact unique to Angola (endemic sub-species). Among many other taxon, the giant sable was brought to the brink of extinction, due to the enormity of Angola's human tragedy. The Foundation is supporting the Kissama Foundation in Angola to carry out the monitoring of the remnant giant sable population in order to help the Government plan future conservation actions for this rare and precious animal.